NEWBRIDGE’S Gavin Rees is ready to retire.... and nearly pulled out of his showdown with Gary Buckland as a result.
The former WBA world light welterweight champion is calling it quits after a 16 year professional career.
However, Rees is finding the demands of training so difficult that he almost cancelled his rematch with Buckland, set for next Saturday at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena.
“Gavin rang me and told me he thought he didn’t have anything left and would like to retire and I supported his decision,” his trainer Gary Lockett told the Argus.
“I asked him to sleep on the decision and after doing so, he decided he’d train flat-out for Buckland and look to bow out with a win.
“It’s very difficult to keep the levels of discipline required in boxing and it is only natural Gavin is looking ahead to the next phase of his life.
“He’ll leave it all in the ring, but this really is his last fight.”
Rees confirmed the decision: “I will leave everything I have in the ring on May 17 and I am proud of everything I have achieved,” said Rees. “Winning a World title was a dream come true and of course all British fighters want to win the British title and claiming that for the first time in 2010 was a huge honour.
“My trainer Gary Lockett has done a brilliant job getting me through training camps in the last few years but I can’t keep doing it.
"I’ve had a fair few injuries and they are catching up with me, but I’ve still got a great fight left in me and I plan to empty everything left in me out in Cardiff and put on a real show for the fans that have been great to me.
“The first fight was a classic and you couldn’t argue with the decision going either way. Of course I thought I did enough to get it but there were no complaints. Gary is a fantastic fighter and you know what you are going to get with us – all-action for 12 rounds.
“It’ll be an emotional night for me knowing that it’s the end of a brilliant road, so I want to bow out in style and say I ended my career with a great win in Cardiff.”
The former champion brings the curtain down on a 16 year career that has seen him bag British and European honours before landing his World title, with a Prizefighter victory reigniting his career and seeing him grab a shot at becoming a two-weight World champion when he took on Adrien Broner in America for the WBC Lightweight belt.
Rees and Buckland meet again after their epic battle in the same venue in February became an early contender for Fight of the Year, with Buckland edging a split decision.
Rees’ last hurrah against Buckland is part of a great line-up in Wales live on Sky Sports as Lee Selby faces Romulu Koasicha in an official eliminator for the WBC Featherweight title with the International belt on the line.
Nathan Cleverly makes his debut at Cruiserweight against Guyana’s Shaun Corbin with the WBA Inter-Continental title on the line, Liverpool’s Super Middleweight star Callum Smith defends his WBC International Super Middleweight title against Swansea’s Tobias Webb, Dale Evans faces Mark Douglas, plus there’s action for Chris Jenkins, Mitchell Buckland, Robbie Turley and Alex Hughes.
Tickets are on sale now priced at £30, £40 and £60 ringside available from www.livenation.co.uk or by calling 02920 22 44 88, and from Sanigar Events on 0117 949 6699. VIP Packages priced £120 are available from www.matchroomboxing.com or by calling 01277 359900.